How to Free Range Chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by xIndigoSkyx, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. xIndigoSkyx

    xIndigoSkyx Chillin' With My Peeps

    422
    2
    121
    Dec 4, 2010
    St.Albert, Alberta
    I have 9 chickens and I would love so much to let them free range but I'm terrified to let the run free. I have 2 big dogs and my neighbors have another big one and a small Russell. The dogs chase away all birds of pray but I'm worried about my dogs hurting the chickens actually. I let my ducks free range and the russell has taken a chomp outta some but the other dogs nber have. Is there any way I could let them free range?
     
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    4,748
    1,393
    356
    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    some dogs won't and some will.

    Then some will if you are not watching.

    That many dogs, unless you are very sure of them, I would not risk it.

    But if they did not bother the duck.... I don't see why they would the chickens.
     
  3. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    2,005
    47
    173
    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    I personally wouldn't risk it except for when you can be right there in the yard to watch out for the chickens. I only say that because I've had one of my chickens killed by a predator - and I don't want that to ever happen again.
     
  4. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,169
    92
    231
    Aug 30, 2009
    Goshen, OH
    If you don't have a fence to keep the neighbor dogs out, I wouldn't risk it. Your own dogs, you can put them up for an hour while the chickens play outside. You don't have that option with the neighbor dogs unless you call over there and ask if they wouldn't mind keeping them up for a little bit.

    We split our yard 3 times.. an area for the chickens, one for the dogs up by the house, and a larger "open" area with the firepit and what not where either the dogs or the chickens can play, or neither of them if we have company. The chickens and ducks beg worse than the dogs do when food is around. At least the ducks are polite, they'll stand at your feet and look at you. The chickens, a couple of them will come into your lap after whatever you have. LOL

    We like fences. My dogs are cool with the ducks, the chickens too if I'm out there. Sometimes we have everyone out hanging around. Sometimes the chickens are in a mood and flutter around too much, which stresses the girl dog out.

    There is a terrier mix that runs across 3 yards to get to our fence and look in, one spot in the fence where it might be able to gain access. So I never leave the birds out alone. They get let out during yard chores and coop chores.

    I've lost one duck to a hawk when I popped in the door to change laundry. Won't do that again!
     
  5. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    1,314
    45
    171
    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    I wouldn't mix your dogs and your chickens if you have any doubt about what your dogs may do. Either keep your dogs inside the house, a garage, or in a run when you free range the chickens or don't free range them.

    If your neighbor's dogs run loose and can get onto your property and after your chickens, then you either need to talk with your neighbor about securing their dogs or risk losing birds.

    Ultimately, I wouldn't let your birds free range at all unless you have the time/ability to be out there and with them the whole time they're out...just in case a dog (or any other predator for that matter) shows up. If you've got a roo, then (assuming he does his job) you've got a warning system in place, but a roo isn't likely to stop a large dog.
     
  6. xIndigoSkyx

    xIndigoSkyx Chillin' With My Peeps

    422
    2
    121
    Dec 4, 2010
    St.Albert, Alberta
    It's different with theneighbor dogs. I raised all of them from puppies and they bought them from us. We feed them sometimes, let them inside put house sometimes and basically it's like shared dogs... Our area where we lived had 6 dogs all 'shared' by my neighbors and our family but they still went home to whoever bought them at night. I trust my big baby Charlie, I raised him and I know he's a big pansy. His mother on the other hand I don't really trust she likes birds way to much and is very sneaky and sly. Her son that lives next door Ceaser is like Doug the dog from up and the russell will eat anything moving. My best friends granma used to free range all of her chickens... That was about 20 and none of them ever died. They didn't have dogs but they did have neighbors very close by with dogs and they were in the mountains so there is deffs more predators... I think I might just help my dad make the king of all chicken coops and let the ducks free range... It's the flying part that gets me nervous about chickens... What if they get into I tree I can't climb?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by